The Grid - Design with Ease
Just over a year ago I signed up to be a Founding Member of a new experimental website design platform called The Grid. It cost just under a hundred dollars for the membership, but it promised early access to the website design framework whenever the developers were ready to release it.
Well, I received my invite link to test out the platform last week. It took me between 4 and 6 hours to migrate my old website to the Grid’s Platform, including completely redesigning the look and layout of the site in the process. Color me impressed.
Between when I signed up for and when I finally got to test the platform, I encountered a number of articles about the grid that disparaged the platform, claiming variously that it was vaporware, bug ridden, made ugly websites, or some combination of the three. I started to get worried that I had been duped.
When I finally got to trying it out I was relieved to find that it worked; It wasn’t vaporware. But then I encountered a bug or two in the UI, and I wasn’t immediately satisfied with the design results I was getting. My fears about this being vaporware were temporarily renewed. I even wrote a pretty snarky bug report to the devs, which I feel bad about now because the platform is amazing. It just took a little while to understand how everything worked.
The Grid uses artificial intelligence to design your website for you. The user simply uploads the content they want to include, pictures, videos, text, sounds, or whatever, and The Grid automatically arranges those elements on the page in a visually pleasing manner. The Grid can extract colors from the uploaded images to build a color scheme that naturally fits the site, or the user can pick the scheme himself. Users can also adjust the formality of the layout, the formality of the fonts, the extent to which the main color scheme is branded throughout the site, and more things, which The Grid’s AI engine will factor into the site design. If the user isn’t satisfied with the design, the AI engine will redesign the website as often as it takes until they are satisfied.
The amazing thing is, it actually works really well. Although I was initially concerned when I encountered some bugs during beta, I'm now just thoroughly impressed. Adding pages and posts to a website is super fast and completely uncomplicated. Web content creation is exactly as easy as it should be. Plus, The Grid doesn’t tie its users to the platform. Unlike so many other website design frameworks out there, the grid doesn’t require users to host there website at some lame domain, (somecrappydomain.com/gbp10523/UniqueUserWebsite). While The Grid does offer its users hosting, (thegrid.ai/UniqueUserWebsite), users can also set up websites on a custom domain at no extra cost as long as they own the domain.
If you like the sound of having your own website, but you don’t want to learn how to write HTML and CSS, you should definitely checkout the grid.
It’s also worth mentioning, the developers didn’t just create an amazing new platform for web development, they also created an equally revolutionary new development library for lower level web programming called Grid Style Sheets. This mind-blowing web-layout framework revolutionizes CSS, making layouts straightforward and simple. I imagine it will eventually supersede CSS entirely. (Interested developers should watch Dan Tocchini’s presentation at Fluent 2104.)